Want to be your own boss, but worried about where you’ll find the money to cover start-up costs? If you long to start a business – or simply work remotely for someone else – but have a shoestring budget, you’re in luck. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to cover your initial expenses. Instead, try one of these opportunities. They are some of my favorite work from home jobs that are free to start.
That’s right – you can start these without an influx of money. No business loans required!
The Bare Necessities…
Now, it’s important to stop for a minute and think about what you need to start these businesses. Most will require a computer and an internet connection. I’m going to assume you have those.
But what if you don’t? Well, it’ll take some creativity. Can you go to the library to type or hop on Wi-Fi at the local McDonald’s? Could you do something offline to earn money to buy what you need?
Your computer doesn’t need to be fancy to let you earn a ton. A cheaper model can help you get started.
Now, you may run into some expenses in certain situations even with the options below. For example, some companies do require applicants pay for a background check. There may also be some opportunities to invest in training though it isn't a requirement. Where there's a will, there's a way. If you run into a roadblock with one job, seek out another. If you are only looking for excuses to not move forward, you will find them.
If you’re ready to see a positive return without an initial investment, consider getting into one of these industries.
1. Freelance Writing
There are SO MANY websites out there. And all of them need content.
Here’s a little secret…you don’t have to be a journalist to get paid for your writing. But, you have to get started. Fear holds so many people back.
You can do this! Once you decide to start, think about what you want to write. Would you enjoy writing conversationally-toned blog posts? Or do you prefer more professional writing that businesses may publish?
Do you like cars? Or gardening?
Pretty much any topic out there is going to have a demand for content. Yes, some niches pay better than others. But, when you’re getting your feet wet, try different things. You may discover that you really love writing about a topic you didn’t know much about.
Once you have some idea of what you want to write, it’s time to find some gigs. Read this post for more on that:
Remember how I said you don’t have to be a great writer to be a freelancer? That truth is why this position exists…
If everyone published perfect content, there wouldn’t be any need for a proofreader. Thankfully, no one is perfect. So, if you have an eye for grammar and can pick up on misspelled words lickety-split, you can start looking for proofreading jobs.
If you don’t want to search for clients on your own, consider working for a company. Many hire contract proofreaders. That means you wouldn’t be an employee or get benefits, and you would be responsible for paying your own taxes, but you would get the benefit of clients that you didn’t have to hustle up and find.
For a list of where to find proofreading jobs as a beginner, read this post:
3. Virtual Assistant
Do you enjoy completing behind the scenes work and helping others meet their goals? You might be a great virtual assistant!
As a VA, you’d put your skills to work helping other entrepreneurs. You can offer so many different services, which makes this a great work-at-home job to start.
To find clients, you can strike out on your own and ask your network if they know anyone. You can search on social media. Or you can get started with a few clients from an agency.
You can learn more details about starting a Virtual Assistant business from home and finding your first clients in this post:
Or consider one of these virtual assistant jobs.
4. Pet Care
Do you enjoy animals? If you do, you should take advantage of the booming pet industry and start a pet care business of your own. Or you can join an established one like Rover as a contract worker.
You can spend your time getting paid to play with poodles and pet purring kitties. Well, there will also be some poop-scooping and litter box duties thrown into the fun. Consider yourself warned.
If you want to learn more about starting a pet care business, read this post:
5. Teaching English Online
Are you a fluent English speaker? Do you have a stable, high-speed internet connection (i.e. no wi-fi or metered satellite connections)? Do you have experience working with children?
Since many of these English companies connect you with students in China, the peak hours are often really early in the morning for U.S. residents. But, if you don’t mind getting up and diving into your work, this can be a great fit.
Want to know more about teaching English online? This article is for you:
6. Social Media Manager
Companies not on social media are missing out on a large piece of the market. Millennials especially check out companies online before they do business with them.
Many businesses are learning that their online presence matters, and they’re hiring people to help them figure out social media marketing. If you’re savvy with social platforms, consider starting a social media manager job.
You can dip your foot into working with a company like Appen as a social media evaluator. Then you can see if you’re interested before you start trying to connect with your own clients.
When you’re ready to strike out on your own, make sure you read this post:
7. Customer Service Representative
Customer service matters. If businesses want repeat customers, they have to treat people fairly and respond to their inquiries quickly. And since most of this customer care is done via chat or email, it’s the perfect position for remote workers.
If you have some experience providing customer service, definitely consider starting this work-from-home job.
Here’s my Customer Service Ultimate Guide. That article has valuable information to help you get started. You’ll also find a long list of companies that hire work from home customer service representatives.
No matter what kind of work-at-home business you start, there are some similarities. You need to decide who your perfect clients are. Then you need to market to them. This post can provide some insight into how to market without marketing skills.
Did you find a business idea? Great! Now it’s time to go out there and get started. You really can earn money from home, if you act.